When it comes to oral health, you want to play the long game. That means visiting the dentist twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning, even if nothing hurts. These bi-annual visits are essential to preventing serious dental issues, including gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.
Creative Dimensions in Dentistry offers affordable dental services, including bi-annual checkups and cleanings with family dental offices in Castro Valley and San Leandro, California. Here, the practice’s top-notch team discusses five vital reasons not to skip these routine appointments.
1. You Can’t Remove Tartar on Your Own
When bacteria in your mouth interact with the food you eat it causes plaque to form on your teeth. Plaque is easy to remove with a toothbrush. But when you miss a spot (and who doesn’t?), the plaque can harden into tartar. Unlike plague, tartar is impossible to remove at home. It requires the expertise and professional instruments of a dentist or dental hygienist. And, the longer that tartar stays on your teeth, the greater your risk of developing cavities.
2. Maintain gum health
About 50% of Americans age 30 or older have periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease. Your Creative Dimensions dentists monitors gum recession, bleeding, and firmness, all gum health indicators, at your bi-annual exam.
This is essential because, in the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, many patients do not experience symptoms. Yet, without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes your gums to pull away from the teeth, putting you at risk for tooth loss. About 50% of Americans age 30 or older have periodontal disease.
Your dentist determines your risk for periodontal disease by using a periodontal probe ruler. With this small ruler, they check the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and teeth. Pocket depths deeper than 4 mm often indicate gum disease.
3. Uncover hidden problems
Your dentist and hygienist can spot even tiny cracks or chips, cavities, and other abnormalities during a dental checkup. They also use X-rays when appropriate to check the health of tooth structures under your gum line and monitor for decay between your teeth. Among the common issues detected by dental X-rays are:
- decay between teeth or beneath existing fillings
- jaw bone loss
- changes in the bone or root canal caused by infection
- position of teeth to under the gums, such as impacted wisdom teeth
- cysts and some types of tumors
4. Reverse tooth decay before it hurts
By the time you’re feeling pain from a cavity, your tooth decay has progressed through your outer protective enamel to the soft, living tissue beneath.
During a dental checkup, even a soft shadow or slight discoloration on a tooth (often white or tan) can alert us to a weak area where acid-producing bacteria are making progress at dissolving your enamel. This is the earliest form of decay.
When we catch decay at this point, we can recommend simple treatments that often halt or reverse the issue, such as professional-grade cleaning and polishing followed by fluoride applications to strengthen the enamel.
5. Educate you about home care and hygiene
Your dentist and hygienist will educate you on ways to improve your home care routine to maintain a healthy smile between dental visits. Patients are encouraged to ask any questions about their oral health.
For most patients, bi-annual checkups and cleanings are sufficient. However, those with certain health risks, such as a weakened immune system, may benefit from coming more frequently.
If you’re overdue for a dental checkup and cleaning, don’t procrastinate any longer. Call Creative Dimensions In Dentistry in either San Leandro or Castro Valley today or request an appointment online.